Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I might be about to geet expelled because I wrote this a month ago
Story I’ve Decided to Tell: Story of my AP English Class to talk about the mixed feelings evoked by society.
Style to emulate: Orwell
Writing Style: narration
Title: Delirium Trigger ~Pull It and You’ve Won~
Theme: Madness from indecision and society pressures
Don’t forget to double-space and check over it.
Delirium Trigger ~Pull It and You’ve Won~
By: Little Digital Deus ex Machina “Conrad Collins”
First Chapter ~Only Chapter~: This isn’t a World; it’s a Death-trap!
I know it to be true, and yet for some reason at that time I was a little confused as to whether or not I was correct. Every time I remembered that I had to do it, there was a dense pain surging through my entire skull. To someone on the outside; someone who isn’t like me wouldn’t understand it properly. When a normal person hears about homework, they wouldn’t ordinarily associate it with suicide or even bloodlust, but in my case, maybe these words all shared a bit of meaning.
For you see, on that day like many similar days around that time, I was in a state of utter bewilderment at my very own attitude. How could it be that just a few feet away laid my English textbook when I should have been on my desk, being read from? How could it be that rather than taking the hour I would have spent completing the assignment, I found myself merely at my desk listening to loud music and incessantly clicking back and forth between pages that were never altered?
The blame is impossible to place. The psychiatrist might have said that I needed medication. That I had Attention Deficit Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Restless Leg Syndrome and that I needed to be hooked up on as many pills as possible. I’m glad the psychiatrist has yet to open his mouth yet, though, because I would have taken the liberty of overdosing mere days in.
They aren’t the only type with an opinion, though. Let’s listen to the parents who both work all day and night, or to the teachers who hate their jobs, why don’t we? Of course I was just lazy. I probably needed to take this class – AP English 11 – because it would come to my aid in the future. Some time in life, there would be a reward for my hard work. “You only get out of anything as much as you put in,” is what echoed from the throats of all; my father, my mother, my guidance counselor, and even my technology teacher who lectured the class daily.
But no matter who you ask, between the psychoanalyst and the hard-working common man, you never can predict the future. And the only thing that everyone; and I do mean everyone was talking about; is the future. The future that came from the following of this path paved with silver. This was the path that I was born to take. This was the path that people could not look down upon – only up to. This was Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku 2 Following this path was the most likely road to happiness, and the only way to assure a reasonably happy future. By going through with this class; by going through to college, and getting a degree, to work a job I don’t hate to make money to do what I want, to live a life that was denied to my dad; I would live a euphoric dream. I would live the American Dream.
“But I am not an American,” were the next words I typed, having fumed over my rant to my best of friends via the Yahoo! Messenger window. He and I talked all too often, because all too often at least one of us was bored out of our damn minds. However, we only truly had each other to talk to, because we are two of a kind. Two who share the same passions, hobbies, ways of life, views on society; the only difference between us is our perfectly opposite personalities. I’d like to consider myself his foil.
“But you WERE born and raised in America.” My friend thought, ultimately, using logic and little of anything else.
“>_> so were you. Anyway, I always pick ‘other’ when I fill out my race in surveys.” It was perfectly normal for us to break a serious discussion with jokes and side-notes. After all, we had all the time in the world, right? “Anyway, I really don’t feel like reading this goddamn book. Even if it IS Orwell…” He was my favorite Western author, yet the thought of turning him into a homework assignment disgusted me.
“You better get to work anyway, no use failing the class if you’re not allowed to drop it.” Every second or two I glanced over at the clock. This was partly out of habit and partly out of content for myself for waiting so long to begin.
“Meh… Kyoukai desu~~…this is really stupid… I really don’t want to do this…” There wasn’t a feeling of déjà vu in this sentence as much as there was the lingering memory of a week before when I’d spent the whole day, 2 days in a row, completing assignments for this class. For a full month now, things had been this way. When I knew that there was work to be done, it wasn’t merely that I couldn’t do it, but I couldn’t do anything at all. I’d get the materials out and have a Word Document open, but instead I’d find myself doing something pointless. This was the most miserable feeling I have had in a long time. Many things begged to be done. I had anime to be watching, I had video games to be played, I had music to be listened to, I had points to make, I had a story to write, and all of this was so much more important than homework.
But those voices cut deep. Those were the voices of people who had already left the prison of high school. Those were people who had jobs now. Even the college student I knew had their own thoughts on my situation, and they had their advice to give. And the advice was always the same; that in some way, taking AP English 11 would help me eventually. That somehow, for some reason, being in this class and learning whatever the hell it was that I was supposedly learning, was going to pay off in the end. And the worst part is that I listened to all of these people. I believed them.
There were already bullets in the gun. It was already pressed against my head and I was standing there with my fingers on the trigger, but my arm gradually lowered and the Evoker disappeared. The gun was gone for one reason only – the fact that I knew I could never pull the trigger and end the nightmare. The gun had disappeared when I decided that it really was pointless to live a life in fear or contempt. For the first time in 2 long years, I had finally pulled the gun away and smiled with all of my heart. I knew that the only real path was the path that one made with their own soul. Even if life was nothing more than the meaningless whim of a consciousness to conform itself to rules it created for itself and couldn’t escape, that life ought to be endured in a way that was not intolerable, as death could only be better than even minute suffering. I’d come to accept that if I dared to live, I would live only by my own terms.
And yet, here I was, in my room, doing nothing save the occasional message to my friend. Here I was, locked in thoughts of pain and laziness, unable to even convert coherence into my own mind.
Monday, November 26, 2007
if anyone is clicking here, I feel sorry for you
Ceremony - Knots vs. Patterns
report on a novel by: Leslie Marmon Silko
By: Conrad Collins
Ceremony tells a story of Tayo's journey in finding patterns in what appear to be knots of information as portrayed by Silko's style of writing throughout the book.
Throughout Ceremony, there are constant changes both in the way that the story is told and Tayo's perception of his own mind and his memories. These changes are made to coincide with one another as made evident by the style of writing being choppy and full of time skips during periods of confusion for Tayo, while more concise and straightforward as Tayo gains further grasp of his thoughts. In the beginning of the book, Tayo's mind is an absolute mess and his thoughts seem to be entirely disjointed. The narrative reflects this in that the very first sequence of paragraphs jumps all over time and memories, barely remaining coherent while spewing seemingly random information in regards to Tayo's memories.
In the beginning, and up through the first 100 pages or so the narrative continues in what could almost be seen as brief vignettes telling random pieces of Tayo's story that only seem to pile on top of each other in a growing heap of unnecessary baggage weighing his mind to the ground. None of the information promotes an over-arching story or goal or antagonist, but a tangled knot of emotions and memories with little visible meaning.
As the story continues, though, there become less jaunts through time and randomness while Tayo's journey begins to take shape. This transformation begins most blatantly in Tayo's meeting old Betonie. During this portion of the tale, the writing continues to be a little disjointed, and still lurches along with bits of information, but remains in a consistent chronological motion. This matches Tayo's mixed feelngs toward his situation with Betonie, wondering if the man is trustworthy and going to set him on his path, or a crazy old psychopath.
At this point in the story, we also begin to see a dramatic increase in frequency and length of the 'stories' or poetic narration that are dispersed throughout the novel. In Ceremony, greater understanding of life and the world is represented through stories, which are said to be the most important things in life. The stories represent understanding, and thus as Tayo begins to understand the world around him, the stories become more prominent and even more coherent in relation.
From this point forward in the book, Tayo's memories are not only fewer, but wen they are shown, they are often lengthier. As well, they become more coherent and rather than seemingly random bits of information, their purpose is explained more clearly as they are introduced. This is done so that the reader can experience the journey in the same way Tayo does - at first seeing everything as mindless knots and then slowly recognizing the connections between stories, memories, and happenings as a definite pattern.
In addition to coherence, Tayo's memories become more fond and far less dark. Whereas in the beginning, he remembers only things such as the war, the death of his close family members, and tragic events with Emo; later in the story he remembers fond times with his uncle and other events that show him connections between the events in his life. Steadily, his hope and understanding as well as the readers come into focus.
There are moments in the story where Tayo falters, and the narration reflects these times as well. When Tayo finds himself several times riding around with Harley and Leroy having fun, he begins to doubt his journey and regress, and during these times the narration also becomes foggier, jaunting a little bit as it did in the Betonie scene, but in the wake of these events he only becomes more assure of himself and as he reaches the peak of awareness, the narration becomes full-force straightforward and all of the events begin to take shape as a coherent whole.
There is a single definitive moment in which Tayo's awareness comes full-circle and the final loose ends of Tayo's thought as well as the story's plot are tied into the rest of the now-complete pattern. The moment is when Tayo realizes that the Japanese who he'd killed and the faces of Josiah and Rocky that always came into his head when he thought of them were connected. He realizes then that all things are connected, and they are so through "witchery". It is not merely a thought of Tayo's, but a statement by Silko that "From that time on, human beings were one clan again, united by the fate the destroyers planned for all of them, for all living things; united by a circle of death that devoured people in cities twelve thousand miles away (Silko 246)". In this instant, Tayo's realization of the nature of the world is complete and simultaneously so is Silko' portrayal of the nature of the world complete.
As was done throughout the story, the reader and Tayo progress together, and both come to the same realizations at the same time, equally tying together the threads into the ultimate, definable web of information that is the real nature of the story as well as the nature of Tayo's journey.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
AP Language and Composition
Ceremony Essay Outline
Thesis Statement: Throughout Leslie Marmon Silko's novel The Awakening, a number of things are presented in a way that are meant to be perceived as knots of information, and other times as patterns. Not only the story itself, but Silko's style of writing showcase this conflict.
Assertion # 1: The Awakening is a tale in which the main character, Tayo, must find the patterns in what seem to him knots of information that lack meaning.
Evidence which proves assertion # 1: "There was no end to it; it knew no boundaries; and he had arrived at the point of convergence where the fate of all living things, and even the earth, had been laid. (Silko 246)"
Commentary or evidence which relates assertion #1, and Evidence back to thesis: Tayo eventually find his way to the realization of how everything he has experienced relates to each other when he remembers his grandmother's tale of the blinding flash of light. Before that point, he had always wondered why he had seen Josiah's face and voice in those of the Japanese he killed. However, "from that time on, human beings were one clan again, united by the fate the destroyers planned for all of them. (Silko 246)" here, he realizes that it is because they died in the same way in the infinite cycle of death brought upon by the "destroyers". Rather than a knot of voices and death, he sees it as a clear pattern and finally understands.
Transition from first assertion to second assertion: through finding these patterns in former knots, Tayo gains a greater insight to the world around him.
Assertion # 2: Tayo discovers that it is not only his own knotted thoughts that are actually patterns, but that all of existence can be found in this pattern.
Evidence which proves assertion # 2: "The lines of cultures and worlds were drawn in flat dark lines on fine light sand, converging in the middle of witchery's final ceremonial sand painting. (Silko 246)
Commentary or evidence which relates assertion # 2, and Evidence back to thesis: That is to say that regardless of who someone is, where they are, or their culture, all were equally victims to the witchery. Rather than being that each suffering was an isolated event, it was all effected by witchery equally. Tayo is realizing that it is no coincidence or knot of unrelated happenings which has led him to his strange and seemingly disjointed thoughts, but a definite universal happening that connected directly together and, in fact, made perfect sense.
Transition from second assertion to third assertion: While it is only outright said in this place on this page, Silko shows Tayo's progress from believing everything to be a knot of information to a pattern of progression all throughout the story.
Assertion # 1: The style of writing used throughout reflects the way Tayo feels at the time toward his own thoughts.
Evidence which proves assertion # 3: Early on in the story, little of any one time frame is shown- there are constant skips through Tayo's past and state of mind, rarely settling on one point for more than a small amount of time. As the story progresses, though, the writing becomes more and more straightforward until there is little to no focus on Tayo's remembering and more on the present.
Commentary or evidence which relates assertion #3, and Evidence back to thesis: This way is used to strengthen the story's focus and it's meaning on the subject of this conflict between knots and patterns. Just like Tayo, one might see the images of his past as random pieces which only equate to Tayo's memories and lead to him being crazy as he himself believes these thoughts have made him. Just as Tayo becomes more aware of the pattern, though, the reader does and it isn't until Tayo realizes the exact connection between these events that the reader is given this information.
Transition from third assertion to conclusion: Silko's retainment of knotted storytelling strengthens the force of the message that it was, in fact, a pattern, when i is revealed as one.
Conclusion: Tayo's journey as well as the reader's end in the sight of everything with the realization of it's nature as a pattern rather than a knot, and that only with this realization can the true importance of the story be recognized.
(Please note that the space for the commentary is the largest. This means that your ability to make sense of what you read and to think about it critically is the most essential part of your paper).
Monday, October 22, 2007
Through a seemingly unbiased detail of the differences in meals provided to man's and women's colleges, Woolf mockingly yet truthfully points out the lack of equality for women in society. The differences in tone range from the content elation of the first passage, detailing the men's meal, while the second passage, detailing the women's meal, features a tone of sobered vexation.
The first passage finds itself comprised almost solely of long, highly descriptive sentences; all of which compare the food to something beautiful or exquisite. "Brown spots like spots on the flank of a doe,'' is an obvious attempt to create an image of something sweet and pretty. Woolf not only gives us a beautiful image in lines such as "their sprouts, foliated as rosebuds but more succulent," but even goes so far as to assure us of the lack of this beauty by saying, "if this suggests a couple of bald, brown birds on a plate then you are mistake." Now having assured the reader that all of the food is on this level of ultimate quality, Woolf finally declares that this is a level not to be understood as average in the sentence, "to call it pudding and so relate it to rice and tapioca would be an insult."
The second passage is a nearly polar opposite of the first, right down to having blunt, concise sentences and an annoyed as well as notedly sober tone. Instead of leading into the passage with several sentences of vivacious vocabulary detailing her reason for writing as she did in her first passage, Woolf begins the second with the cold, harsh statement, "Here was my soup." Already, the tone bites with the cold ferocity of tundra winds. "The plate was plain." "Prune and custard follows." At one point, Woolf makes the sarcastic comment that "coal-miners doubtless were sitting down to less." Here we can start to see the annoyance Woolf has toward the experience. This continues to build in lines such as "it is the nature of biscuits to be dry, and these were biscuits to the core." Finally, in closing, without the glamorous, pleasing trail-off of the first passage in which "we are all going to heaven," Woolf merely states plainly and unemotionally that "The meal was over."
Comparatively. it is more than obvious that the first meal is more than preferred over the second, and thus it is obvious that the women's college cannot possibly have been treated with the respect garnered by the men.
“The cottages with their innocent and tranquil design, (White 303)”
In referring to the cottages as “innocent,” White makes it sound as though these cottages bear his child self and memories within them. Everything he admires at the lake, he holds in regards as holy and untouchable. “Innocent” is often a term used to describe one who is not only young, but usually someone who is still considered pure. The idea of the cottages being pure and tranquil adds to White’s overall soothing feeling about the lake and its atmosphere.
“And then the kettle drum, then the snare, then the bass drum and cymbals. (White 305)”
Without explaining it outright, White compares the sound of thunder to the beating of drums through metaphor. The progression of sounds from lighter to deep is represented in which drums he mentions in that order.
“As he buckled the swollen belt, suddenly my groin felt the chill of death. (White 305)”
Throughout the story, White compares his son to himself at the age which his son is now, and how he is like his own father. White’s perception of this is extreme at times to the point that he actually sees his son as himself. In this line, his son and he are the same person, because while his son is performing the action, he says that “my groin” felt the chill of death.
“How you could have it eating out of your hand if you connected to it spiritually. (White 304)”
White very often considers himself deeply intimate with the things found at the lake. In addition to finding every detail beautiful, he even considers himself “spiritually connected” to them. Though much practice and usage of the motorboats, one might gain an amount of skill with them, and to White this is a way of forming a bond with the boat. He means to say that the boat would actually become a part of oneself.
“For a moment I missed terribly the middle alternative. (White 302)”
White’s love for the lake is nearly obsessive. Every detail of his childhood is remembered. Though he first doesn’t expect the lake to be beautiful at all any more, once he’s realized how much is the same it becomes bothering for any tiny detail to be changed.
“I felt dizzy and didn’t know which rod I was at the end of. (White 302)”
White’s feeling that his son has become himself actually becomes confusing to him when he sees a dragonfly on his rod. In actuality, it may have been the son who had the dragonfly on his rod - White leaves it pretty open for interpretation. However, the point is made that the nostalgia is uncanny.
"We caught two bass, hauling them in briskly as if they were mackerel, pulling them over the side of the boat in a businesslike manner... (White 302)"
The metaphor "as if they were mackerel" insinuates that they were trying to show off by treating these bug fish as if they were small-fries. Pulling them over the side of the boat in a businesslike manner gives the image that they take this seriously, or at least act like they do for the sake of further looking cool.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
feel used yet?
Controlling tools of your system
Making life more tolerable"
Sender: The sender is posing as informant. He wishes to make a truth apparent through his words which express his view as fact.
Receiver: The sender refers to his receiver as "you" as if to point at the listener directly. This is usually a technique for addressing an entire society, of which the listener is a known part of. It both invokes blame and makes sure the listener knows that the message pertains to themselves.
Message: With the rather blunt way of putting things seen in the passage, the sender is declaring the fact he wants portrayed. To put the meaning simply, he is informing the receiver that anti-depressants are the controlling tools of your system, used to make life more tolerable. The sender expresses concern and disgust toward the act of taking anti-depressants. By using a word like "controlling tool" he makes the human life sound mechanical or even robotic.
"The Bible's blind, the Torah's deaf, the Qu'ran is mute
If you burned them all together you'd get close to the truth
Still, they're pouring over sanskrit under ivy league moons
While shadows lengthen in the sun"
Sender: The sender is enraged and discontented. He is declaring a problem, "still, they're pouring over sanskrit in the ivy league moons," and it's effect, "While shadows lengthen in the sun."
Receiver: This is a case of a rebellious cry or even as a reminder of a trouble. Rather than informing the receiver of a problem, it serves to remind them of how it's a problem. The receiver would be anyone who listens and cares to acknowledge the statement.
Message: The sender's message is rather bold and strong. In the first line he expresses disgust toward the Bible, Torah, and Qu'ran, and even goes so far as to declare that if they were all burned "you'd get close to the truth." It is evident that the sender believes these texts to be the creators of a facade that enraptures people. They hide a truth that cannot be obtained as long as they even exist. The sender then points out that, despite the lies that these texts create, they are still held in high regard and studied to an extent. Worse yet, "Ivy league," a place for the greatest of thinkers, is the place where this foolishness is contained. Meanwhile "shadows lengthen in the sun," meaning that there are more pressing, growing matters to be attended to that find themselves ignored.
Madarame: What does this look like to you?
Kasukabe: A face?
Madarame: How about this?
Kasukabe: ....a woman's body...
Madarame: Exactly! Humans are capable in finding a familiar image in even the most abstract drawings. This is a basic function of the human mind. Just take a look at the simple cave paintings from ancient times. In those primitive drawings, ancient people saw images of wild game running across the plain. In other words, anyone who says "you can't whack off to anime" obviously has a defective brain. Either that, or they're trying to sound cool. I mean, even back in the edo period they had erotic shunga prints.
Sender: The sender, Madarame, is trying to prove his point using evidence and appealing to reason. He wants to assure the receiver that his idea is completely logical.
Receiver: In the context of the story, the receiver is Kasukabe, though the message generally would be aimed at anyone who questions one with a 2-D complex.
Message: If one cannot tell from reading the excerpt itself, the goal is to illustrate rational reasoning as to why one would find animated characters attractive. Though portrayed in a comedic way, the message is actually very factually based as it tries to offer conclusive reasoning as to the nature of the attraction. Though the sender is aware of the skepticism of the receiver, he provides enough convincing fact to attempt to change their mind. The tone is very commanding and resembling or a lecture to add to the idea that the sender is trying to educate the receiver.
The kiosk in my temporal lobe
Is shaped like Rosalyn Carter
She says my map is home again
But torn face down
I have only but a million blemishes
To tell you all about
Sender: The sender is relating a historical account through creative language. In the last 2 lines, he expresses the distaste for his situation.
Receiver: The receiver is not only the listener, but also the oppressor of which the excerpt speaks.
Message: Due to it's cryptic nature, one would have to know the meaning of the lines in order to comprehend their message. Firstly, it is important to know the pretext of this lyric, being that the song is about the oppression of religion on people. Secondly, one must know that the temporal lobe is the section of the human brain that controls speech and vision patterns as well as memories. As such, it is essentially the personality of a being. The placement of Rosalyn Carter in the line is partly an inside joke by the lyricist who is known to have a fascination with Rosalyn Carter, however it also pertains to her having been the emissary to Latin American countries for a time. The lines "She says my map is home again, but torn face down" indicate that Rosalyn is offering a home to these people - change their face - that is they become like Rosalyn Carter then they can become accepted into this new home. However, the sender declares that "I have only but a million blemishes to tell you all about." This is the sender's way of stating that he will not change his face, and if they are to be accepted, it must be even with their faults in mind.
"Mankind is a creature that no longer evolves, is it not? One theory says that man is a neoteny and is no longer able to evolve. If this is true, then what an absurd creature mankind has evolved into. Not knowing what it is that drives them they keep their bodies merely to satisfy the desires of the flesh. They're worthless, don't you think? That's all mankind is." - Masami Eiri
Sender: The sender expresses disgust and even hatred towards the subject of their message, even going so far as to call them "worthless".
Receiver: Due to the conversational structure of the passage, the receiver could be perceived as whoever the sender is speaking to, however it could also be that the sender is addressing the subject of their message directly and using this speech structure to create a stand-offish tone.
Message: The sender uses a number of rhetorical questions to illustrate their opinion that mankind is worthless and attempt to invoke those feelings in the reader. Although they present no factual argument, their strong language suggests that they believe in this strongly and want to force this view onto the reader. The sender also presents briefly the suggestion that mankind should not retain their bodies, and that they only do so for the sake of "satisfy[ing] the desires of the flesh." Through repetition of the worth worthless, they strengthen the visceral feeling brought about by the word.
A Thematic Analysis of The Awakening by Kate Chopin
By: Conrad Collins
“She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim out, where no woman had swum before” (Chopin, Cover) The central theme of the Awakening is immediately apparent. It is a story of a woman who wishes for freedom from her encompassing circumstances. Freedom from the ties of womanhood that bound all women in the late 1800s. Freedom to be able to express herself in the way that she pleased. Freedom to explore her passions in their purest form.
The conflict of The Awakening is the direct opposition to her freedom by way of others inability to understand the main character, Edna Pontellier. Her best friend, Adele, represented to Edna the womanhood that she was tied to. “Think of the children, Edna. Oh think of the children. Remember them!” (Chopin 182) even as the book nears climax, Adele thinks differently from Edna so much that Edna believes she doesn’t her.
Edna feels restricted by her supposed duties to her husband and children. She finds no passion in their presence, fond of them as she is. Down to the last, she thinks that “They were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul.” (Chopin 190)
Edna attempts to express her freedom, or rather bring it into being, through the mediums of art and sexuality. Her affairs while Mr. Pontellier is away make her feel alive and free and full of the passion she so desires. “She liked dabbling. She felt in it satisfaction of a kind which no other employment afforded her.” (Chopin, 22) Edna also takes pride in her art and find solace in painting as a means of expression.
However, as Edna attempts to find her freedom, she only digs herself into solitude. For people to be together, all must make sacrifices, and Edna finds herself impaired by these choices. “I love you. Good-by-- because I love you.“ (Chopin 185) The ultimate sum of all the pressuring solitude from Edna’s attempts at freedom comes forth when even her true love, Robert, will not be with her. “He did not know; he did not understand.” (Chopin 190) With this declaration, Edna has decided that her freedom repels any other person, meaning that she could only be free by being dead.
In the end, Edna achieves freedom by escaping all who oppress her. Even her fear of the ocean - a restraint which she had once suffered - had been broken. As Mademoiselle Reisz told her, “to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul. The soul that dares and defies,” (Chopin 106) and, taking these words to heart, Edna ultimately defies all inhibitions and attains freedom.